This year, I’ve made a goal to make use of seasonal produce that I’m not familiar with to challenge myself to be more creative in my cooking. A few fruit and vegetables that are on this list include rhubarb, figs, beets, summer squash, and artichokes. Some of these are clearly higher maintenance, like artichokes, while others, like rhubarb, are just foreign to me. The only way I’ve ever had rhubarb was in a strawberry rhubarb pie a friend’s dad made when I came over to her house. So I figured the easiest way for me to use it for my very first time would be by making a strawberry rhubarb syrup I’d then use for homemade soda.
I don’t drink soda at all unless it’s made from a small or local company that doesn’t use high fructose corn syrup. I stopped drinking soda after the second time I had braces when I was in 7th grade, and it was a great thing that I did it then. Because of this, it’s even more gratifying when I made a syrup for soda myself because I know exactly what I put into it, and I know that there’s nothing artificial about what I’ve made. And it’s pure sugar, for better or for worse. It’s a lot of effort, but it makes me really happy at the end, and it makes me even happier to share it with other people who can appreciate pure ingredients and the taste of real fruit flavors.